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Checklist for Consciously Managing a Workplace Problem

Life would be so easy if there weren’t other people …right? And, so boring too. One of the challenges we face is getting out of our heads when facing a “problem.” Here’s how to take a more conscious approach and eliminate the drama in the process.

  1. Recognize and admit that you have a responsibility toward the situation. As Dr. Phil reminds us, there are two sides to every relationship.
  2. Have you expressed your concern appropriately? Speak of how you feel and not about “what they’ve done.” Use “I” and not “you.” Your silence is not golden so don’t wallow in a Culture of Silence.
  3. Drop your desire to be “right.” As the great Sufi poet, Rumi stated, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” The Buddha said “Winning and losing are both the same thing: they are nothing.” If you want to know what a conscious approach is, simply ask yourself what Jesus, Buddha, or similar beings would say or do in the same situation.
  4. Do not identify yourself by your “problem.” That is giving your power away. Understand you are a much greater being than any circumstances you could face at work… or home.
  5. If, after you’ve made a conscious effort to resolve the problem, things don’t work out, prepare to move on. This does not mean that you hire a lawyer or start a fight. In my 17 years of litigation experience representing employees, few, if any, benefited from the litigation experience. Even after I put hundreds of thousands of dollars in their pockets. The only way we benefit from our negative experiences is when we learn our lessons and move on. Do not waste a moment of your energy looking backwards.
  6. If you are feeling stuck give yourself “outs”. Perhaps you prepare your resume and go on job interviews, but continue to do your best job possible. Sure you can gather evidence of their “unfair conduct” but what good will it do you? Better to find an environment where you are respected and feel good about the work you do every day.
  7. Recognize that conduct on the part of others that feels unfair to you is often due to their lack of consciousness. This is true whether it is your spouse, child, subordinate or supervisor. Recognize that no one engages in more unfair conduct towards you than you do to yourself. Focus on the internal and let go of the external. Do what is practical, not what is emotionally satisfying.
  8. Ask yourself these questions: Will this really matter in five years from now? How would my loved ones like to see me approach this challenge? (With a negative or positive attitude?) What example will I be setting for my family, friends and co-workers? Do I have the strength to rise above this nonsense? Can I separate myself from identifying my being with this problem?
  9. As Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now states: “Use your problems and suffering for enlightenment.” Do not give your pain and suffering any time in the past or future. If you are fully present with it, you’ll fully realize that you are just fine right now. Stay in the “now” and you will avoid your own ego-driven consciousness.
  10. Lastly, go have some fun. Exercise, sleep well, and eat right. Focus on what you are grateful for and let everything else go. Forgive, surrender, and love your enemy.

I can guarantee you that any approach other than the above will result in no good to you, your company, your loved ones, or anyone else. I say this without reservation and with good intention.